By Eva Chipa

Speaking with much conviction and passion, Xoli Matomela from the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, spoke on a topic we hear far too often about, but rarely do anything to change, especially within the media industry.

In her opening remarks, she read out narratives of industry players who reflected on the level of patriarchy within the industry. Tales of male counterparts questioning the authority of their female colleagues and confining them to boxes of being ‘lesser than’ or ‘incapable’ are the norm.

Before continuing, Matomela threw in a disclaimer, which put the men in the room in a cringe worthy position, she said, “you may be cringing a lot throughout this presentation, but unfortunately you are dealing with a radical feminist”.

On that note, she proceeded to introduce a solution to the age-old question ‘what can media do to aid and prevent gender inequality, discrimination and abuse’. She indicated that research conducted by GIZ revealed bone-chilling statistics that 100 women are raped every day and only 1% of media in Southern Africa reports on gender based violence.

Step it up for Gender Equality in South African Media plans have established a platform for a sector wide dialogue aimed at introspecting and solutions. The sectors included industry, civil society and government. This dialogue tackled challenges, best practices and solutions towards pro- sensitive gender reporting.

Towards the last 10 minutes of her presentation, Matomela opened up the floor to where radio could intervene in preventing gender based violence and harmful stereotyping. Startlingly, her female audience gave testimonies from their personal experiences of working in a male dominated industry and being sexually harassed. She added that 20% of content in media is created by women, and with that being said, left the audience with a resounding thought and question. “Of the top of your head, how many political analysts do you know? And how many of them are woman?”

Edited by Bridget Lepere